Nigeria to focus on HIV/AIDS cure research

By Konye Obaji Ori

Posted on June 9, 2011 05:58

Nigeria will include HIV cure research in all discussions, political decisions and funding strategies, President Goodluck Jonathan promised world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on AIDS (UNGASS).

According to President Jonathan, Nigeria had a major stake, not only in ensuring that the country’s armed forces were protected against HIV and AIDS but also to provide them adequate treatment as the west African country is the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping on the continent and the fourth largest in the world. The prevention of HIV was an important task for Nigeria because the human, social, and economic costs of inaction were too great to contemplate.

Addressing the Security Council Open Debate on HIV/AIDS’s impact on peace and international security on Tuesday, June 7, Jonathan asserted his camaraderie with the UN, and members of the Security Council, by demanding that the Security Council set clear and decisive goals in order that the global efforts to maintain peace could add to the weapons against HIV/AIDS.

He promised that Nigeria will also include HIV cure research and its global strategy into the international HIV agenda.

“Time is ripe for a final solution to the HIV/AIDS scourge… and Nigeria’s support in this endeavor is guaranteed. We welcome the inclusion of an awareness program in the mandate of all United Nations peacekeeping operations. Nigeria joins the international community in ensuring that women and girls in conflict situations are adequately protected,” President Jonathan was quoted as saying.

The president further explained Nigeria’s previous efforts, readiness and commitment to support the fight against the bane of HIV/AIDS in Africa and the world at large.

“In our sub-region, we have taken strident steps towards these objectives. For example, the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) sub-regional transport corridor project, which encompasses Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, is designed to halt and reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS among various populations.”

The Nigerian president assured that Nigeria was also committed to sustaining the drive and enlarging the level of engagement with the security services in affected countries in West Africa to reduce the impact of HIV and AIDS in the region.

The International AIDS Society (IAS) advised world leaders to look towards the example of the elimination of the smallpox virus for motivation to ensure the inclusion of HIV cure research and its global development.

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